This French chicken stew using white wine is a spin on the classic dish, coq au vin, which translates to “cock with wine” however, chicken has long since become the staple protein in this entrée rather than rooster.
While traditional coq au vin is a dish of chicken braised with red wine, bacon lardons, mushrooms and pearl onions (considered a sister dish of boef bourguignon) I use white wine and add cream. It makes for a more summery yet hearty touch, a popular twist made in the Alsace region of France.
The hearty coq au vin blanc recipe is one of my favorites as well as one of my most requested dishes when cooking for friends and family and entertaining during any season. Searing the chicken in the same pan the sauce is made in adds so much flavor to this dish. I could absolutely eat an entire loaf of bread to myself just soaking up the extra sauce though you can also serve this dish over mashed potatoes.
I use bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs in this chicken with white wine based recipe. Chicken thighs are not only a cheaper cut, they stay much more tender than chicken breasts when cooked. The skin adds a lot of flavor to the sauce and looks much more impressive when served at dinner parties. I recommend patting the thighs dry with a paper towel before searing them so they get extra crispy.
The bacon is cut into small strips for quick cooking. Be sure to throughly crisp the bacon in the pan before it’s set aside. This will ensure it remains crispy when added to the sauce later on. The rendered bacon fat is used as a flavorful and rich base for the sauce.
The onions are cooked in the bacon fat for added flavor. I use yellow onions which become sweet when cooked in the fat. Shallots can also be used in their place if needed.
I always use fresh cloves of garlic, the pre-minced jars of garlic don’t taste the same. The garlic cloves are chopped and sautéed with the mushrooms.
I prefer to slice the mushrooms just before cooking rather than buying pre-sliced mushrooms. Slicing them at home means you can control how thin and evenly they’re sliced. Baby bella or cremini mushrooms have an earthy flavor that works well in this dish. They can also be substituted with mild-flavored white mushrooms.
I recommend using a dry white wine for coq au vin blanc since they won’t overpower the dish by making it too sweet. While I will use just about any white wine in a pinch I prefer cooking with Sauvignon blanc. A mentor of mine always reminded me to never cook with a wine I wouldn’t drink! Using a really cheap wine (or cooking wine) could ruin the flavors in a dish. In a pinch you can substitute for chicken broth though I prefer the flavor of the wine in this dish.
The cream adds a richness to the recipe though it can be omitted for a dairy free alternative. I’d recommend using the heavy cream rather than swapping for something else like half and half.
Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Brown the chicken thighs on all sides in a pan and remove from the pan.
Add the onions and bacon to the pan and cook until the bacon fat has rendered and the onions are translucent. Add the garlic and allow to sauté for another minute. Remove the mixture to a bowl using a slotted spoon, reserving as much fat in the pan as possible.
Return the pan to heat, add the mushrooms to the pan and sauté, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are golden brown.
Add the onion and bacon mixture as well as the browned chicken back to the pan.
Pour in the wine, add the bay leaf, and lower the heat and let simmer until the chicken is cooked through.
Stir in the cream and continue to simmer.
Remove the pan from the heat, discard the bay leaf, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Top with the parsley.
Preheat the broiler to medium-high. Dip one of the cut sides of each baguette slice in the olive oil, then arrange the slices, olive-oil side up, on a baking sheet. Broil until golden brown.
Place one chicken thigh in a warmed bowl with plenty of sauce ladled over the top. Repeat for the remaining chicken thighs. Serve the bread on the side for dipping in the extra sauce.
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